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Mary Burke Baker

Government Affairs Counselor
Fax +1.202.778.9100
Mary Burke Baker is a government affairs counselor in the Washington, D.C. office where she leads the tax policy practice. Ms. Baker focuses on federal tax matters affecting businesses, including domestic and multinational corporations and all types of pass-through entities, and individuals. Her practice covers tax policy, tax reform, regulatory and other guidance, tax administration, and technical tax issues, with particular emphasis on corporate and pass-through issues, accounting methods, information reporting, Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) compliance, and emerging cryptocurrency issues. Since enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in December, 2017, Ms. Baker has particularly focused on the Opportunity Zone program and is a frequent speaker on the topic throughout the United States.

Ms. Baker advocates on behalf of clients and consults with and advises Congressional, U.S. Treasury, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) staff on numerous domestic and international tax and tax policy issues, including the new Opportunity Zone program, implementation of business and individual provisions in the TCJA, and emerging cryptocurrency tax compliance concerns. She stays abreast of current tax policy developments on Capitol Hill and around the world and keeps clients informed with timely, relevant, and informative updates, including political insights and analysis regarding the significance of these developments. She helps clients identify and assess risks and opportunities in the ever-changing legislative and regulatory environment and develops and executes strategies to achieve desired legislative and administrative outcomes. She offers technical analysis and drafts comment letters in response to regulatory projects, working groups, and other tax policy initiatives. During the multi-year tax reform debate, Ms. Baker leads the Cash to Accrual Coalition and the Like-kind Exchange Coalition. She serves on the steering committee of the LIFO Coalition. She assists individual taxpayers who are participating in the IRS Offshore Voluntary Compliance Program to comply with FBAR and Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) filing requirements.

Ms. Baker serves on the Board of Directors of the Real Tax Policy Group, which features biweekly sessions with top Administration and Congressional tax officials. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Time of Grace, an international media ministry.

Professional Background

Prior to joining K&L Gates, Ms. Baker served for six years with the Senate Committee on Finance. In that position, she managed several major tax bills for Committee Chairman Baucus, including FATCA, international reforms, basis reporting, and credit card reporting; she also worked closely on Affordable Care Act and economic stimulus provisions and managed and maintained the revenue offset list. Ms. Baker managed committee hearings; oversaw IRS policies, programs, and initiatives; and worked on tax reform measures. She authored many floor statements, opening statements and press releases on behalf of Chairman Baucus concerning corporate, small business and individual tax policy and tax administration matters. She also was responsible for vetting the financial information, including tax documents, for all Administration nominees falling under the jurisdiction of the Senate Finance Committee. During her time with the committee, Ms. Baker was featured in Tax Analysts as a congressional staffer influencing tax policy.

Ms. Baker also served at the IRS for more than 25 years in a variety of technical and management positions, including large case team coordinator and Manager of the Office of Tax Shelter Analysis. During her time with the IRS, Ms. Baker materially contributed to numerous IRS guidance documents, including coordinated issue papers and industry director’s directives. While at the IRS, she received many performance awards, including District Employee of the Year.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Member, Board of Directors, Real Tax Policy
  • Member, Board of Directors, Time of Grace
  • Member, Tax Coalition
  • Member, The Tax Council
Speaking and Articles
Ms. Baker is a frequent contributor to the tax press and has spoken extensively before business and tax groups. Recent engagements on Opportunity Zones include the Urban Land Institute Capital Markets Conference, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and upcoming testimony before the Senate Small Business Committee. Other groups include the Business Roundtable, American Bankers Association, Chamber of Commerce, International Tax Policy Forum, American Council of Life Insurers, Tax Council Policy Institute, Emory Tax Policy Symposium, Federal Bar Association, Airport Minority Advisory Council, National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics, National Association of Enrolled Agents, IRS Chief Counsel Lecture Series, IRS Executive Development classes, and Congressional briefings. She represented the IRS during various presentations to international tax groups in the U.S. and abroad.

Ms. Baker has authored and co-authored numerous articles and analyses regarding tax policy and tax reform (see links on this website).

Quoted Media

Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, “SIFMA: Opportunity Zone Investment,” Webinar, August 7, 2019
  • Speaker, “Opportunity Zones and Disaster Relief-International Economic Development Council,” Webinar, July 23, 2019
  • Panelist, “Discussion on Opportunity Zones,” Boston, MA, April 4, 2019
  • Panelist, “Liberty City Rising: Achieving Upward Mobility through Small Business and Community Partnerships”, Miami, FL, February 1, 2019
  • Speaker, "Prince George's County Opportunity Zones Conference," Largo, MD, November 7, 2018
  • Speaker, “Now that the proposed regulations have been released for the Opportunity Zones Program, What Is Your Next Step?” Qualified Opportunity Funds and Opportunity Zones Released Regulations, Washington, D.C., October 31, 2018

Additional Information

Additional Publications
  • “Should investors be worried about the wave of new OZ bills in Congress?” Opportunity Zone Magazine, December 2019
  • Ms. Baker is a leader of the K&L Gates OZ cross-practice team and works with clients to understand and implement the OZ program. On behalf of clients, Ms. Baker has successfully advocated for legislative changes and helped shape regulatory and other guidance and policies from the U.S. Treasury and the IRS on a variety of issues. This includes almost two dozen issues during tax reform, including the border adjustment tax, interest expense deduction limitations, net operating losses, last in - first out (LIFO) inventory, cash accounting, and like-kind exchanges. Other issues include state aid investigations, international tax initiatives, the medical device excise tax, health benefit plans, master limited partnerships, accounting methods, temporary tax provisions, and other issues. She has assisted numerous clients in resolving offshore noncompliance issues with the IRS.
  • While at the Senate Finance Committee, Ms. Baker managed the development of several major tax provisions, including FATCA, credit card information reporting and basis reporting of securities transactions. Her extensive portfolio included LIFO inventory, international tax issues and tax administration provisions. She worked on major tax bills, including the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010; Education, Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act (2010); Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010; Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010); Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (2010) [HIRE Act]; American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008; Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008; Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008; Economic Stimulus Act of 2008; U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007 [Small Business]; Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 [TIPRA]; Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005; Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005.
  • While at the IRS, Ms. Baker managed the IRS Office of Tax Shelter Analysis; IRS technical advisors in the High Technology, Telecommunications, Gaming, Sports, Entertainment and Media industries; the Motor Vehicle Industry program and the Inventory Issue Specialist; and was a large case team coordinator on several multinational corporate examinations. She worked on numerous task forces and special projects, including two IRS modernization teams, industry director’s directives, and the retail internal revenue manual.